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Developing Heat Response Plans using Extreme Heat Mapping

Heat mapping informs our comprehensive heat response plans, enhancing our ability to protect vulnerable populations and create resilient rural and urban communities.

Heat mapping has emerged as  a critical tool for proactive heat response planning. Its development has been catalysed by recent extreme heat events like the unprecedented heat dome that gripped British Columbia in 2021. UBCM supports these efforts with grant funding. In essence, heat mapping involves the study of temperature distribution across a community, including surrounding forested areas. Traditionally utilised for urban planning, its scope has broadened to broader-scale planning and mitigation for extreme heat events. 

Vulnerable communities, including young children, older adults, and those with limited access to cooling resources, are at the highest risk of heat-related illness during heatwaves. Heat mapping provides critical insights into temperature disparities across communities , enabling informed decisions for mitigating heat-related risks and generally understanding the spatial variability in temperature across a community. By analysing temperature data using satellite remote sensing, we can quantify the factors influencing temperature variations, such as land cover, altitude, and local climate conditions.

To construct an accurate heat map, land surface temperature data derived from satellite imagery is collected on a chosen day. These satellite images provide seamless temperature data that can be compared with local empirical weather station data for improved calibration. The generated heat maps serve as a foundation for crafting heat response plans. These plans are action-oriented, addressing specific vulnerabilities and outlining necessary follow-up steps. Communities are empowered with actionable insights, enabling them to design and implement strategies that safeguard their residents during heatwaves.

Heatmap of Whistler
Heatmap for the Regional Municipality of Whistler

Frontera developed a heatmap for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, which will inform a future heat response plan. Currently, Frontera is pioneering the application of heat mapping in the District of Chetwynd, by developing a comprehensive heat response plan for the entire community.

By providing communities with actionable insights, Frontera is championing a future where proactive heat response planning empowers us to safeguard the most vulnerable and create sustainable urban environments. Heat mapping is an essential step in the development of a sustainable future for our communities.

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Authored by:

Madeline Boldt

Madeline Boldt

Madeline manages social media and content creation for Frontera.

Joe Rakofsky

Joe Rakofsky

Joe holds an MSc and is GIS Coordinator at Frontera.

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